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De Blasio to remove homeless people from Upper West Side hotel

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Mayor de Blasio administration has announced that homeless people who had been staying at the Lucerne on W. 79th St. will be removed, alongside those staying in an unnamed Queens hotel. 

The transfer, back to shelters, was expected to take place on September 20, 2020 

Department of Homeless Services spokesman Isaac McGinn  in a statement said, “We’re beginning to relocate individuals from several commercial hotel locations to alternative non-congregate shelter locations, where we can continue to implement social distancing and provide isolation." 

 "With more than 60 commercial hotel locations utilized to combat COVID and protect our clients from this virus over the past nearly six months, these actions will begin to reduce that footprint where we can,” McGinn added. 

In the spring, the Department of Homeless Services moved about 10,000 homeless people into hotels from shelters, where fear of coronavirus spread remains high.

But the policy prompted a backlash from residents of nabes including the Upper West Side — site of three homeless hotels including the Lucerne — where residents blamed their new neighbors for an increase in quality-of-life problems.

Attorney Randy Mastro said in a statement on behalf of the West Side Community Organization that, “We appreciate that the city — at our urging — will be immediately taking concrete steps to address the chaos that reached a crisis point over the past several weeks when the city relocated hundreds of homeless individuals into the Lucerne Hotel, many of whom suffered from mental illness, addiction and other serious problems.”

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